Phyllo Cups with Fig Compote, Goat Cheese Mousse and Pistachios

Phyllo Cups with Fig Compote, Goat Cheese Mousse and Pistachios from The Tasty Gardener

I will admit I’m new to the dried fig bandwagon.  I’ve had raisins, dried apples, dried mango, dried pineapple, dried papaya and I’ve even gone down the path of dried vegetables.  Some I’ve enjoyed, others not so much.  I guess my hesitation in the past can be attributed to my one and only experience with dried figs and that being in the form of Fig Newtons. It wasn’t until last year at the Toronto International Film Festival that I really truly discovered the amazing flavors a smartly-used dried fig can do as an ingredient.

A friend and I had decided to grab a bite to eat before one of the screenings and I convinced her we needed to try this great little Italian restaurant on one of the side streets.  They made these amazing wood burning pizzas that you cut with a knife and fork and are probably the best tasting pizzas I’ve had outside of Florence.  The special of the day was a pizza topped with mozzarella, Gorgonzola, figs, walnuts, prosciutto and drizzled with honey.

I will completely admit that I can be a food snob; but not one that insists on knowing the name of the cow that produced the milk to create the cheese, more of an amateur snob who thinks figs in anything sounds incredibly fancy. And what?! honey on a pizza.  I must try this just to say I did.  It was incredible.  The combination of flavors were out of this world.  I have since been back to the restaurant several times because of this pizza. Sadly the figs where a special addition and their standard menu includes one with pears as it’s replacement.

When my package arrived from the people at Eat, Write, Retreat for the Amazing Apps Culinary Challenge and I opened the box to discover my ingredient was figs I was equally excited and terrified. What crossed my mind? “Figs!?!  But I’m new to figs. I’m not ready for figs yet. Wait I can try to recreate that pizza! But it has to be an appetizer? Crap now what?

First, let’s take a step back and I will explain why I received a box of figs.

As a Food Bloggers of Canada member I was fortunate enough to be given an opportunity to create this blog post for a contest sponsored by Canadian Beef. The prize (I was one of six winners) is a sponsorship to attend Eat, Write, Retreat in Philadelphia this month.  Yay for me!  As an early registrant I was entered into their Amazing Apps Culinary Challenge.  Any of these four ingredients could have been dropped on my doorstep: California Raisins, US Potatoes, California Ripe Olives and yes California Figs. So back to my fig panic.

I couldn’t get the idea of the pizza out of my head.  I enjoyed those flavors together so much why couldn’t I find a way to make that into an appetizer?  The saltiness of the prosciutto and cheese, the sweetness of the figs and honey and the nuttiness of the…well…nuts.

It’s funny how an idea can finally come to you.  As I was thinking about appetizers I was thinking how they need to be small, to be able to be held in your hand.  Anyone who knows me knows I talk with my hands.  I also think with my hands and at that moment I’m thinking handheld and small, and I am cupping my hand. Cups! Phyllo cups!  A base like that of the pizza crust.  From there on everything else came together. The saltiness, the sweetness and the nuttiness, all decided.

In the box I received both Black Mission Figs and Golden figs. What the heck was the difference?  I tried them both and instantly knew the Golden were for me. Luckily the box also included a great fact sheet on all things figgy.   I always associate dried fruit with being bad for you because they can be so sweet like candy. Who knew 3-5 dried figs contained 5 grams of fiber and equaled one fruit serving?  Probably those who haven’t taken this long to jump on the fig train yet.

California is the number one producer of figs in the US and grow five different varieties.  I love how they compare their flavors to that of wine.  “Black mission figs having a earthy flavor like Cabernet, Calimyrna, buttery and nutty like Chardonney , Kadota, light like Sauvignon Blanc, Brown Turkey, robust like Pinot Noir and Sierras, sweet like Riesling.” I guess it was no big surprise that I preferred the golden since I don’t drink anything but white and rose wines.  And which is why I added a splash of white wine to my recipe.

So here it is. My creation.  I guess this is what food growers love the most.  People discovering their products and embracing them completely.

Yields 48

Phyllo cups with Fig Compote, Goat Cheese Mousse and Pistachios
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Ingredients

  • 6 sheets phyllo pastry
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups dried figs, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • splash of white wine
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 10 oz goat cheese
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat mini muffin pans with cooking spray.
  2. Place one sheet of phyllo on your work surface.
  3. Brush with butter. Top with a second sheet and brush it with butter. Continue with one more sheet of phyllo.
  4. Cut the phyllo into squares about 6 by 4.
  5. Press the squares into the bottom of your prepared pans.
  6. Bake for 4-5 minutes, watching carefully until they are golden. Let cook on wire rack.
  7. In a saucepan over med-high heat combine the figs, water, honey and wine and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until thicken about 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat and let cool.
  9. In a medium mixing bowl beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
  10. In a separate bowl beat together the goat cheese, milk and salt until smooth.
  11. Carefully fold in the whipping cream.
  12. To assemble carefully spoon the cooled fig compote into the phyllo cups. Using a piping bag or a baggie with the corner cut top the fig with a dollop of the goat cheese mousse. Sprinkle with the pistachios.
Recipe Type: Appetiser
7.6.4
249

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat mini muffin pans with cooking spray.
Place one sheet of phyllo on your work surface.

Phyllo Cups with Fig Compote, Goat Cheese Mousse and Pistachios from The Tasty Gardener

Brush with butter. Top with a second sheet and brush it with butter. Continue with one more sheet of phyllo.

Phyllo Cups with Fig Compote, Goat Cheese Mousse and Pistachios from The Tasty Gardener

Cut the phyllo into squares about 6 by 4.

Phyllo Cups with Fig Compote, Goat Cheese Mousse and Pistachios from The Tasty Gardener

Press the squares into the bottom of your prepared pans.

Phyllo Cups with Fig Compote, Goat Cheese Mousse and Pistachios from The Tasty Gardener

Bake for 4-5 minutes, watching carefully until they are golden. Let cook on wire rack.

Phyllo Cups with Fig Compote, Goat Cheese Mousse and Pistachios from The Tasty Gardener

Phyllo Cups with Fig Compote, Goat Cheese Mousse and Pistachios from The Tasty Gardener

In a saucepan over med-high heat combine the figs, water, honey and wine and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until thicken about 20 minutes. I made separate compotes for each of the two kinds of figs.

Phyllo Cups with Fig Compote, Goat Cheese Mousse and Pistachios from The Tasty Gardener

Remove from heat and let cool.

Phyllo Cups with Fig Compote, Goat Cheese Mousse and Pistachios from The Tasty Gardener

 

Phyllo Cups with Fig Compote, Goat Cheese Mousse and Pistachios from The Tasty Gardener

In a medium mixing bowl beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form.

Phyllo Cups with Fig Compote, Goat Cheese Mousse and Pistachios from The Tasty Gardener

In a separate bowl beat together the goat cheese, milk and salt until smooth.

Phyllo Cups with Fig Compote, Goat Cheese Mousse and Pistachios from The Tasty Gardener

Carefully fold in the whipping cream.

Phyllo Cups with Fig Compote, Goat Cheese Mousse and Pistachios from The Tasty Gardener

To assemble carefully spoon the cooled fig compote into the phyllo cups. Using a piping bag or a baggie with the corner cut top the fig with a dollop of the goat cheese mousse. Sprinkle with the pistachios.

Phyllo Cups with Fig Compote, Goat Cheese Mousse and Pistachios from The Tasty Gardener

Phyllo Cups with Fig Compote, Goat Cheese Mousse and Pistachios from The Tasty Gardener

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Comments

  1. Ooh ya baby! I love how this concept came together. Having just bought my first fig tree yesterday (who knew they can be grown in pots?!) I was keen to see what you would do with yours, but on reading the words "goat cheese mousse" I just about fainted. Oh lordy... what an awesome combo.. and the pistachios are truly the icing on this 'cake'. It's a lovely combination of flavours and textures and I can't wait to give this a whirl. It's gonna have to wait a few months though, till my wee tree bears some figs. See you then! ;-)
    • Thanks Helene, I think most of my recipe development happens this way. Especially thinking and talking with my hands. Let me know how the fig tree works out. Due to some unforeseen chronic pain I'm container gardening this year only and am thinking about putting in some bigger fruit trees and shrubs.
  2. Simply put...I am obsessed with figs and I adore goat cheese!! This is for me! Looking forward to meeting you at EWR & best of luck in the challenge!
  3. What a great idea! And beautiful too! My husband introduced me to fresh figs (we have fig trees now), but I'd never had dried figs that weren't hard and tasteless until I ate these plump and moist California Figs. I had fig pizza at one of Todd English's restaurants in the Boston area - yum! Look forward to meeting you in Philly!

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